For the past 50 years, the Canadian Scientific and Christian Affiliation has facilitated discussions about science and Christian faith in Canada. As part of our 50th-anniversary celebrations, we asked 50 CSCA members to comment on their personal connections to science, scripture, and Canadian scenery. We will share these contributions throughout 2023 in hope that you will find them engaging and encouraging.
CSCA member of the week: Alan Dickin, Emeritus Professor of Geology at McMaster University
1. Why did you choose your scientific discipline?
I got interested in collecting fossils in North Wales as a kid, but my real vocation as a geologist began in the late 1960s when several major TV documentaries were broadcast about the Plate Tectonic revolution. It was very exciting to see a field of science completely revolutionized by new discoveries. As a graduate student, I got into the field of radioactive dating, which of course is interested in the age of the earth. This led me to be concerned about the correct interpretation of the Book of Genesis, and around that time I came across P. J. Wiseman’s book, Clues to Creation in Genesis. Even though a lot of that book is wrong, it has inspired me over the years to want to study and understand Genesis better.
2. What is one of your favourite Bible verses and why?
One of my favourite New Testament books is the Letter to the Hebrews, especially chapter eleven, which lists some of the heroes of faith. This is very important to me because it shows that heroes like Noah were real people who displayed their faith through their heroic actions.
3. Which Canadian city or landscape do you love exploring and why?
I’ve spent most of my professional career mapping and dating rocks from the Canadian Shield, to work out some of the details of the plate tectonic evolution of Canada. I have loved exploring the Canadian Shield on rivers, lakes and dirt roads, and I particularly like the idea of “boldly going where no geologist has gone before.” The photo below shows a view of the Toulnustouc River, about eighty kilometres north of Baie Comeau, Quebec.